Joining Knights Sanza's dream

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

Stephen Sanza always thought it would be a dream to play in the OHL.

But he was never drafted.

Too small.

"No one ever said anything to me but back then, I knew height was an issue," the now five-foot-nine, 180-pounder said, "but hockey's changed."

The past three years, Sanza has turned himself into one of the best players in junior B hockey.

He helped make the London Nationals a Sutherland Cup contender.

He considered U.S. college scholarship opportunities.

Yet after all that, he opted to make that old dream come true.

Yesterday, he signed as a free agent with his hometown Knights.

Tonight, the speedy forward will play for them in Kitchener.

"I want to further myself in hockey," the 19-year-old Londoner said. "I believe this is the best chance to showcase myself and show people what I'm capable of. The London Knights are pretty much a dream-come-true team and I wanted the opportunity."

Sanza is no stranger to his new teammates.

He played minor hockey for the Junior Knights with Nazem Kadri, Matt Ashman and Dominic DeSando.

"A lot of the team is from London," he said, "so I'm pretty familiar with those guys."

Sanza could be the veteran offensive spark the Knights need.

Their power play has struggled all season. They've had difficulty putting the puck in the net at times.

So far this season, Sanza has put up 24 goals and 48 points in 25 games for the first-place Nationals (21-3-1).

He has been part of a power play that has operated around the 30% mark all season.

He has traded a shot at the Sutherland Cup with the Nats for a crack at the Memorial Cup with the Knights.

"I can hardly talk about it right now -- it's going to be tough to leave that (Nationals) dressing room," he said. "I know how hard they work and it's difficult to leave but sometimes, personal decisions have to be made and you have to do what you think will be best for your future."

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos